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Supporters of this unconventional initiative to bring women into the workforce believe these cities represent a huge step forward for Saudi women. However, such cities only reinforce oppressive gender norms because they offer limited career paths and perpetuate segregation. Furthermore, the progress being made on these cities is sparsely and ambiguously documented, suggesting development is slow. Nevertheless, recent reforms in Saudi government and new changes in the private sector suggest Saudi Arabia is indeed experiencing social change, albeit slow and tedious.
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As a bride, hailing from a family where women were unfamiliar with Karva Chauth, I wasn't really excited by the idea of fasting or decking up for a story session. Given that my mother-in-law, bless her soul, was cool enough to respect my choices, I decided to test Karva Chauth waters with selective participation. If anything, the idea was to test my patience and tame my appetite.
If Shanghai is a girl, and London a man puffing his pipe, Delhi is a feisty woman who goes to work despite being harassed, leered, molested or attacked with acid. A symbol of pluralistic society, she needs safety and avenues for growth to fulfill her global aspirations. Cosmetic changes without any rhyme or reason mean nothing for a city that by any other name shall continue to appear culturally resplendent and contemporary at the same time.